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Unit information: The Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021/22

Unit name The Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa
Unit code POLI21231
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Flint
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit considers the politics of the independent states of sub-Saharan Africa with particular emphasis on a number of core themes: the colonial legacy, the nature of the post-colonial state, society and its institutions, the nation-building projects of these states, the movement towards democratisation in the 1990s and finally the relations between African states and their relationship, in turn, with the outside world.


  • To introduce the political issues and debates relating to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • To discuss the nature of the post-colonial state in Africa and the significance of the colonial legacy.
  • To focus on aspects of African nationalism, nation-building, the movement towards democratisation in recent years and the international relations of the African states.
  • To elicit written and oral discussion of issues raised in the unit.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completing the unit the student will have developed the following:

  1. an understanding of the making of contemporary Africa.
  2. an ability to engage in scholarly seminar discussion on related topics.
  3. an ability to deliver a scholarly seminar presentation on an aspect of African politics.
  4. an ability to write in a scholarly way about African politics.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

2,000 word essay 1 (25%) 2,000 word essay 2 (75%)

Both assessments test all learning outcomes


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI21231).